It was with pain that I read about the brutal rape and murder of a 5 year-old girl in the Wakro Region of Tezu, Lohit; pain and dismay that my words that cannot expiate for.
The entire incident has troubled me to an extent that sleep abhors me, my heart constantly reminded of my own 5-year old sister who roams about delightfully and mostly unchecked among the many non-tribal labourers that crowd our house ongoing renovation for the last 6 months and more.
The mere possibility of a similar tragic fate affecting my own sister, believe me, is a prospect of an infinite fear and depressing frailty. No one deserves a fate so inhumane, let alone a girl of five.
When we move from our enraged and volatile sentiments in this case, we learn about the glaring loopholes in the way that the laymen of our state hire labourers for their use. The absolutely shambolic labour hiring system prevalent in the state is all bare for our acute scrutiny and inspection. Almost the entire labour system is bereft of official documentation and reliable identification. No information is available to us to judge even the slightest of shades of the people who crowd our homes for months at large.
In absence of an alternative, we have become so comfortable and attuned to this culture that we can’t see the obvious threats and risks that we participate in, in such cases.
Most of the workers are illegal immigrants from remote regions of Assam and Bangladesh without any educational background and moral examination.
Some readers may be reminded of the many good-hearted people who have worked for them, who belonged to the same group of workers who I am apparently accusing of being natural criminals.
However, I can assure you that such a conclusion of my opinion is quite false and that I am myself aware of the many good people who I have know in this circle of people. Most of them are hardworking, sincere, down to earth people who work their days to live their nights. But the question that deserves pragmatism and a more skeptic examination is ‘are we prepared to risk our children in the trust of one-two people who we know as being good among many others we have absolutely no idea of’?
I hope the answer is a resounding ‘no’, though I can only speak for myself and what I believe is good for my loved ones.
Time is long overdue for a restructuring of the labour system in our state and its time we decided on the absolute need for the same.
Below are some ways I believe we can overhaul our labour system:
1. Establishment of a govt. Division to monitor the labour system and its personnel.
2. Mandatory official identification for all the laboures seeking a hire.
3. Submission of the personal documents in the police station where they are hired to work.
4. Fixed dates of stay and work.
5. Number of laboures for hire be specified for personal and commercial use.
6. Ineligibility and fine for people who hire labourers without govt. Identification and registration.
The above are just some steps that need to be converted into actual action so that we can prevent a tragedy like the aformentioned ever in our state again.
“We are always only one decision away from a change.’
I hope my concerns resonate with the powers that be, and that they agree with me on the fiery situation people of Arunachal are playing with while trusting the unknown for the safety of their beloved ones.